“I’ve been insane for years! I just became sane, just a short time ago!”
Gabriel Collins is a new visitor to the mountains of madness, thanks to a recent half-hour soujourn in a Lovecraftian 4D immersive escape room that he has only recently escaped from. They say that whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, but apparently there are exceptions; Gabriel hasn’t managed to murder any of the three people he’s tried to extinguish tonight. And now that I think about it, not being killed by Gabriel has probably made Kendrick, Daphne and Morgan stronger, which means he’s even farther behind.
But he’s still in the game, and he’s currently lurking behind a tree with his knife, waiting for an unsuspecting victim to walk by. And here comes Kendrick, tromping through the woods en route to the police to report his recent brush with that very knife.
As Kendrick passes by, Gabriel grips the knife tightly in his fist, raising his weapon and preparing to strike.
But then he takes a look at himself, out in the woods, attempting murder for the fourth time today. In a moment of clarity, he looks at the knife, and asks, “What am I doing?” It’s the portrait of a man suddenly going stark raving sane.
Continue reading Episode 1217: The Next to Last
“He left the sanitarium with no memory of the circumstances which had caused him to lose his mind.”
And in another band of time, running parallel to our own, ABC-Television makes some different choices, and Dark Shadows stays on the air.
Here’s how it wouldn’t have gone.
Continue reading Time Travel, part 15: Dark Shadows Without Dark Shadows
“I have a plan. A marvelous, marvelous plan!”
And they ran. Quentin and Desmond Collins, leaders of the notorious occult crime family, slipped the surly bonds of the Collinsport Gaol, and headed east for a week-long beach party. Holed up in a hideout within limping range of the lockup, the crafty pair planned their great escape, evading their mutual death sentence for witchcraft and abetting witchcraft, respectively.
Alone against the world, the fugitives remained undiscovered in an old abandoned fishing shack, hidden away from everyone except Quentin’s girlfriend, Desmond’s girlfriend, Quentin’s ex-girlfriend, Desmond’s mother, their accomplice Dr. “Bones” Hoffman, a couple boat captains, a getaway carriage driver, probably some ghosts, and their sworn enemy, the dread warlock Judah Zachery. And it would have worked, too, if it wasn’t for you meddling kids.
Continue reading Episode 1194: No Exit
“I do hope he’s not becoming emotionally involved with anyone at Collinwood.”
Here it is, the climax of this epic tragedy: the love story of Barnabas Collins and the late Roxanne Drew. He’s followed her through three layers of paradox to arrive at this choice slice of cliffhanging: the zenith of all his mistakes, piled up on top of each other and ready to topple.
“You will never rest, Barnabas,” the witch spat back then, as she clutched the buckshot wound that he gave her as a wedding present. “And you will never be able to love anyone — for whoever loves you will die!”
And they have, one after another. Kill your darlings, they say, and he has — Josette and Rachel and Kitty and Vicki and Angelique and now, finally, Roxanne, the latest in every sense. He has what he always thought that he wanted — a daughter of Dracula, clad in a filmy shroud, ready to join with him for eternity in a casket built for two.
But it’s all gone wrong, somehow. It turns out a vampire vixen isn’t as sexy as everyone had hoped — instead, she’s a green-skinned witch of the west, hollow eyed and sallow cheeked, and she doesn’t seem to like him. The two predators square off in this shabby lighthouse, lightning flashing from their dark eyes, as the tension stretches to the breaking point.
And then Roxanne opens a door, and walks away.
Continue reading Episode 1149: Wicked
“She wants to destroy the Collins family for all time!”
On October 23rd, 1970, Richard Nixon gave a speech to the United Nations about his desire for world peace. “In Southeast Asia, let us agree to a cease-fire and negotiate a peace,” he said. “In the Middle East, let us hold to the cease-fire and build a peace. Through arms control agreements, let us invest our resources in the development that nourishes peace.” And then they kept on fighting the Vietnam War for another five years.
But ABC decided that Nixon’s close-order hypocrisy display was important enough to pre-empt their daytime schedule, so as we always do on these pre-emption days, instead of watching the 1960s Dark Shadows that we know and love, we’re going to watch the 1991 Dark Shadows that we’re aware of and barely tolerate.
Continue reading Time Travel, part 12: Nevertheless, They Persisted
“If you scream, they will come! They will know how you haunt me!”
Daniel Collins coughs, one of those worrisome false coughs that indicates an unspecified theatrical natural-causes type condition. He’s dying of being old, apparently, at the precipitate age of 54, and he’s being tended to by Ben Stokes, an 84-year-old family retainer who’s known Daniel since he was twelve. It’s hard to say how this kind of malady works; it’s mostly metaphorical.
“Ohh, the pain! It’s coming!” Daniel cries, as Ben propels him bedward. Struggling for breath, he vows, “I must kill that woman, before I die!”
“Now, Mr. Daniel,” Ben chides, but Daniel interrupts.
“Don’t tell me you didn’t see her in that room. You did! That woman will ruin our world!”
Ben shakes his head. “Mr. Daniel, our world was ruined a long time ago.”
That’s a great line, so Stokes puts a point on the board, but Daniel is right. “That woman” is Dr. Julia Hoffman, and her appearance in the year 1840 is ushering in the ruin of this family, this story and soon enough, the whole television show.
Continue reading Episode 1111: The Healer
“If Gerard stays dead, he’ll haunt us for the rest of our lives!”
“Daphne, I’ve been trying to identify something,” Julia says, waving an ornament in the young woman’s face. “I wonder if you would help me. This medallion — look at it, have you ever seen anything like it before?”
Nonplussed, Daphne says, “No, I don’t think I have. Why?”
“Well, look at it more closely,” Julia urges. “It’s very old, I thought it might be familiar to you.”
“I’m certain I’ve never seen it before,” Daphne says, but I have — a bunch of times, back in 1967.
Continue reading Episode 1103: The Center of the Light
“There’s a skeleton in every closet — and there are lots of closets, baby!”
Here’s what we know about Claude North: he drinks milk. Or, actually, now that I think of it, we don’t know that he drinks milk; we only know that when we saw the secret room in the mausoleum where he appears to be staying, there was a half-finished bottle of fresh milk on the table. But if he actually liked to drink milk, then he would have drunk it, right? And there it is. So maybe we could say that he’s lactose-tolerant, but only socially.
Continue reading Episode 1048: Claw North
“Fight me? When I’ve already won?”
It seemed to me, as I sat there in bed, staring at the wall, at the sunlight coming in at the window, at Maxim’s empty bed, that there was nothing quite so shaming, so degrading as a marriage that had failed. Failed after three months, as mine had done.
For I had no illusions left now, I no longer made any effort to pretend. Last night had shown me too well. My marriage was a failure. All the things that people would say about it if they knew, were true. We did not get on. We were not companions. We were not suited to one another.
I was too young for Maxim, too inexperienced, and, more important still, I was not of his world. The fact that I loved him in a sick, hurt, desperate way, like a child or a dog, did not matter. It was not the sort of love he needed. He wanted something else that I could not give him, something he had had before.
Continue reading Episode 1025: Rebecca to the Rescue
“He is my cousin, as you are my cousin, in this time or any other time!”
“The countryside near Collinwood,” says Nancy Barrett, “lies quiet and serene on this night, in Parallel Concurrent Time. But in the great house, the web of evil being woven by Angelique will begin to ensnare its first victim — Maggie Collins — who will be placing herself in double jeopardy by her presence at her husband’s side, for Angelique is not the only force that could conspire for Maggie’s destruction.”
So, a few things. First, nobody calls it Parallel Concurrent Time. Second, the first victim of Angelique’s web of evil was Alexis, and the second victim was a random day player handyman, so Maggie is either the third victim or the fourth, depending on whether you count Dameon or not. Also, that’s not what “double jeopardy” means.
Still, Nancy’s talking about a character that we recognize doing things that we more or less understand, so hooray, Dark Shadows is saved.
Continue reading Episode 1017: The Struggle